Combating Erosion, Deforestation, and Landslides
Landslides and mudslides primarily occur when heavy rains destabilize soil on steep slopes, causing them to crumble. Hundreds of these catastrophic events take place each year, causing thousands of deaths globally. Damage to buildings and infrastructure reaches into the billions annually in the US alone. Deforestation, development in landslide-prone areas, poor agricultural practices, soil erosion, and other effects of climate change, such as cascading cycles of drought, wildfires and floods, are increasingly threatening people’s livelihoods, homes, food security, and infrastructure.
Urban sprawl, steep and highly dense urban areas at greatest landslide risk in poor, informal settlements, and a desire for optimal views within formal settlements all encourage encroachment into dangerous terrain. Designers can work with communities and master planners to create blueprints for public green space networks, devise organic agriculture, permaculture and agroecology plans, strategize to restore soil health and mitigate erosion, and in the worst-case scenario, relocate people to safer communities.
WII’s Field Stations program in Bogota and Medellin, Colombia, in 2019 brought emerging and established designers, planners, and theorists into contact with informal settlements to learn how local and sub-national experts and community leaders strategize to mitigate impacts of climate-related risks to informal settlements within the regional watershed.
Resilient design and research efforts that focus on rising landslides and erosion might produce outcomes such as:
Landslide Disaster Prevention and Mitigation through Works in Hong Kong, Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Landslides across the USA: occurrence, susceptibility, and data limitations, Landslides: Journal of the International Consortium on Landslides
Public Knowledge Production (Manuals and “Explainers”)
A Landscape Neutra Would Have Loved, The Dirt
Landslides and Debris Flow, Ready.gov
Landslides in Washington State, Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Landslide and Mudslide Safety, County of Los Angeles
Example Products and Outcomes
NASA Landslide Viewer, NASA
WII 2019 Colombia Field Stations Report (English), Wright-Ingraham Institute
WII 2019 Colombia Field Stations Report (Spanish), Wright-Ingraham Institute